Know your Celery

  • Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) is a plant species in the family Apiaceae closely related to celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) depending on whether the petioles (stalks) or roots are eaten.

  • Celery was described by Carolus Linnaeus in Volume One of his Species Plantarum in 1753.

  • The closely related Apium bermejoi from the island of Minorca is one of the rarest plants in Europe, with fewer than 100 individuals left.

  • Celery is used around the world as a vegetable, either for the crisp petiole (leaf stalk) or the fleshy toproot.

  • In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds, see right. 

  • Actually very small fruit, these "seeds" yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. 

  • They also contain an organic compound called apiol. 

  • Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice, either as whole seeds or ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. 

  • Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning.

  • Celery, onions, and bell peppers are "the holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. 

  • Celery, onions, and carrots make up the French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups. 

  • Celery is a staple in many soups, such as chicken noodle soup.

  • Celery is widely eaten by guinea pigs, dogs, horses, birds, squirrels, and small rodents.